“Why Do People Yawn?” and Other Really Important Questions

April 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , )

At some point in time, most of you have engaged in conversation or activity with my husband, BJ. You’re familiar with him, his charming personality, and his seemingly never-ending perfectly timed wisecracks. But, I bet you don’t know that he won’t leave for work a single morning without kissing each of our four children in their sleep. He hides chocolate all over our house to have on hand for me when I’m close to a stress meltdown. It would not be unusual to find him with me in a dark coop or closet candling chicken eggs, fascinated (or at least pretending to be) by the glowing wiggly silhouettes of pre-born baby chicks that look just like the ones from the week before. Oh and he actually likes our little dog and can on occasion be caught petting her. You know the one that he acts like he doesn’t like? You’d never guess it, but he’s actually a little OCD about certain things. He falls asleep almost every single night in his chair. (just like his dad did when we were dating) And here’s a shocker -he lets our three girls comb, style, and decorate his hair to their heart’s content and when he’s in a good mood, they might even get to paint his toenails!

You see, there’s knowing somebody and then there’s knowing somebody. There’s an “our paths cross on occasion” knowing and a “we’ve spent years getting to know each other” knowing. We can be familiar with someone, even know a whole lot about them, and not truly know the deep down nitty gritty.

One of my duties as a parent is to pass on what I know to my children. My days are filled with, “What is this? What is that? What are diseases? What’s a rainbow made of? Why do people yawn? Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? Do boys have one less rib than girls? Where is Heaven?” …

Perhaps the most challenging of all questions that my kids await the answer to is “Who exactly is God?”

 I’ve spent most of my term as a mother spouting off the obvious. “Well, He’s God! He’s good. He loves you. He made you. He’s the boss, that’s for sure.”

 “But who is He? What does He like? What does He hate? What can He do? What has He done in the past? What is He going to do in the future? What does He think about this? What does He think about that? How does He communicate with us? What does He expect from us?” The questions go on and on.

In the past, I’ve attempted to call out a handful of names that I’ve heard somewhere along the road in church. But recently, I’ve come to the point in life where I can just admit, “You know, I really don’t know exactly who He is.  I don’t know what all He’s done.  And I’m not sure what He’d think about that.”

 Like many others, I’ve grown up knowing that God is great and awesome and mighty, yet I haven’t been able to conceptualize exactly who He is. I know what I’ve heard. I know a little from what I’ve read. But I don’t know the deep down nitty gritty because our paths only cross on occasion. I haven’t ever really taken the time to actually get to know Him.

Because I can’t pass on knowledge that I don’t have, I set out to find those answers for myself and for my kids. For me, that journey began with two books put out by Streams Ministries entitled, “I AM: Inheriting the Fullness of God’s Names” and “I AM: 365 Names of God.”  One is a compilation of many of the names of God given in the Bible and the other examines the names, their purpose, and how they apply to our lives.

Why start with the names of God? Well, each name of God found in scripture tells us a little bit about Him. Each name unveils a facet of God’s character and His relationship with us. Each reveals His glory and His reputation. Each name is an answer to one of those questions that each of our hearts cry out. God shared His names with us in the Bible for a specific purpose –so that we can relate to Him, love Him, and truly know Him.

 The kids and I now try to spend a few moments each day reflecting on one of the names of God. Using the books mentioned above as a guide, we talk about the name, find it in the Bible, and ask God to give us a mental picture related to the particular name, character trait, or glorious act we’re studying. The kids keep journals of the revelation that God gives them as He unveils the mystery of who He truly is -the nitty gritty- one detail at a time.

 Seeing who God is through the eyes of my children brings so much joy to my heart that I thought I’d share their drawings every now and then to encourage you!

Won’t you join us on a quest to know Him?

 

Click on the photos to enlarge them. 

Alyssa Joy’s interpretation of  “I am the giver of all revelation” 

I just love the little “wavelengths” of revelation that go from God’s mouth to the person’s ear!  Alyssa Joy is alot like me and her artwork always makes me smile!

 

Josiah’s interpretation of  “I am omniscient” (all-knowing)

The boy chooses to lie, but God knows the truth!  Josiah’s art is often simple but always has a message!

Glory’s interpretation of “I am the Lord, and My voice is powerful and full of majesty”

Though she’s only four, Glory loves to draw the pictures God gives her.  We are always amazed at how different each of her journal entries looks!

Grace’s interpretation of “I am the Door”

Grace has a passion for art!  I love her boldness and the intensity of her art.

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In Daddy’s Arms

March 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , )

 Every weekday morning when the clock strikes eight my four kids and I meet up in the living room, crank up some praise and worship music, grab a tambourine, streamer, or flag, sing at the top of our lungs, and dance our hearts out before the Lord.  It’s true.  My continuously pulled calf muscles can testify to it! 

 You see, I realized awhile back that beginning the day praising the Creator changes EVERYTHING.  Energy and patience levels rise.  Bad attitudes vanish.  Bickering stops (for a little while at least!) and tired grumpy frowning kids are quickly replaced with energetic happy smiling ones.  These few moments that we set aside for the Lord each morning are without a doubt the best of the day. 

While the kids absolutely love to see their no-nonsense rhythmically challenged mother (who couldn’t carry a tune if her life depended on it) bust out with the goofy moves, they find no greater joy than “crazy dancing” with their Dad.  Because he usually leaves the house before they wake, these special times are very limited and therefore treasured.

It was on one of these rare occasions that the Lord decided to show up and vividly paint a picture for me – that I might see my relationship with Him through a new perspective.  My husband was dancing wildly, our youngest daughter in his arms laughing hysterically as her Daddy whirled her around and around.  I grinned and thanked the Lord in my thoughts for blessing me with such an amazing man!  My eyes soon came to rest on our other daughter who was also watching my husband dance.  Though she said nothing, her eyes spoke volumes.  Gleaming with anticipation, they cried out, “Hold ME!  Dance with ME Daddy!” 

 “Uh-oh” I thought.  “Surely he won’t pick her up!  He can’t!  She’s heavy.  He can’t risk hurting his back again…”

My thoughts were interrupted as he gently put our little one down and held out his arms wide.  Our older daughter ran to him and he lifted her into the air.  The sight was overwhelming and tears immediately flooded my eyes.  How silly it looked for him to be holding such an old child.  She grasped his neck tightly, her long legs dangling down below his knees.  As she passionately held onto him, peace washed over her.  Something happened to her in that embrace that I can only describe as inner healing.  My child who had always struggled with receiving love was basking in her father’s love right before my eyes!

He went on to pick up and swirl our oldest daughter around the room, her giggles echoing throughout the entire house.  Pure joy literally radiated from her face.  Though he could have stopped with her as most fathers would have, he didn’t.  He turned to our eleven-year-old son and held out his arms.

“He’ll never do it.”  I thought.  “He thinks he’s much too ‘mature’ for that.  After all, in his own eyes, he’s practically a teenager already!”

To my amazement, without hesitation, my boy reached out, embraced his dad, and allowed him to hold him close -something he had grown out of years ago.  Much taller and much heavier than his sisters, he awkwardly clung to his father.  But it didn’t matter in that moment how silly he looked and it didn’t even matter who saw because he was in the safest place in the world-wrapped tightly in his father’s arms.  It was just the two of them and that was all that truly mattered. 

It was then that the Lord spoke to my heart.  “So you’re a grown up now.  So what. You’re still MY child.  You’ll never outgrow my embrace and you’ll never be too big to climb up into your Daddy’s lap.  It doesn’t matter how ridiculous you may think you look and it certainly doesn’t matter what others think.”

Had my daughters rejected their father that day, they would have missed out on his unconditional love.  Had they worried about how their actions may have looked to those around them, they would not have experienced peace or joy.  Had my son cared about what others thought, he would not have known the security and refuge of his father. 

As for me, I choose to learn from my children.  I’d rather cling tightly to my Savior, feet dragging the ground for all to gawk at, than miss out on a single thing He has to offer me.

What about you?  When’s the last time you accepted the Father’s embrace? 

 Do you push Him away or run into His arms?

 

 

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